Like it or not, Google is building a robot army. After acquiring eight different robotics firms over the past year, the company is putting a lot of resources into both robotics and artificial intelligence, although we don’t yet know what its endgame for robots is or even if there’s any endgame at all. The Wall Street Journal reports that longtime Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is very interested in using Google’s robots to automate its assembly lines and has been “quietly working with Google” on its super-secret robotics project. More →
BlackBerry isn’t only suing Ryan Seacrest these days — it’s also getting ready to release some new smartphones through its new manufacturing partner Foxconn. Focus Taiwan reports that the first Foxconn-produced BlackBerry handsets will make their debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, although we still don’t know for sure how many new devices Foxconn plans to show off just yet. BlackBerry signed a deal with Foxconn to produce handsets aimed at emerging markets last year, which gives the company more space to refocus its efforts on producing enterprise-centric software and services. Although BlackBerry’s first Foxconn-produced handset, codenamed “Jakarta,” will be a touchscreen-only device, CEO John Chen has said that he wants to see physical keyboards on the majority of new BlackBerry handsets going forward.
After becoming a dominant force in emerging markets, Foxconn might be eyeing the United States as its next base of operations for future factories. cnYES reports that Foxconn Technology Group is now planning to set up two factories in the U.S., on both the East Coast and West Coast, to begin focusing on high-end smartphone and tablet manufacturing. Apple and Foxconn have been drifting further and further apart over the past few years as Apple has started to shift its operations back to the U.S., and Foxconn has been looking into expanding outside of building products for other vendors. More →
Samsung isn’t the only supplier that Apple is trying to rely less upon these days. Unnamed sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is expanding its roster of manufacturers so that it won’t have to depend so heavily on Foxconn parent company Hon Hai going forward. The Journal’s sources say that a combination of factors, including public relations headaches caused by Foxconn’s controversial labor practices and poor yields of the iPhone 5 last year, have led to rising tensions between the two companies. To ease its reliance on Foxconn, Apple will turn to Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron to help with iPhone 5c production and to Compal Communications to help with iPad mini production.
7-Eleven convenience stores may soon be good for more than crusty hot dogs and oversized sodas. The Wall Street Journal reports that 7-Eleven is teaming up with iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to sell some of Foxconn’s own television sets in 7-Elevens across Taiwan. What’s more, the Journal says that the two companies “may cooperate in making smartphones and tablets in the future,” which would certainly expand 7-Eleven’s market well beyond the realm of unhealthy snacks. Foxconn has been pushing recently to make its own smartphones and tablets comes as the company is trying to lessen its dependence on Apple and broaden its revenue sources. Foxconn unveiled its first Firefox-based tablet earlier this year and the company plans to produce at least four more Firefox devices by the end of the year.
We’re getting close to Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5S launch this fall and that means manufacturer Foxconn is going on a major hiring binge to fill Apple’s orders. Unnamed sources tell Focus Taiwan that Foxconn is hiring 90,000 new workers at its Shenzhen production facility to help the company fill “massive orders from Apple” that will include the iPhone 5S and the new budget iPhone. The iPhone 5S will reportedly feature an upgraded version of the A6 processor, improved graphics, 2GB of RAM and a 12-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash while the budget iPhone has been rumored to feature a 4-inch display, a less powerful processor, 1GB of RAM and a plastic case that comes in multiple colors.
Foxconn is best known as the manufacturer of Apple’s assorted mobile devices, but the company is trying to expand its reach into new areas by manufacturing its own devices based on Mozilla’s Firefox operating system. The Wall Street Journal reports that Foxconn parent company Hon Hai is about to embark on its most adventurous scheme yet after it submitted “an application for a fourth-generation high-speed mobile spectrum license in Taiwan.” The Journal says that Hon Hai is trying to invest in more high-margin businesses because it has found that manufacturing electronics simply isn’t as profitable as it has been in years past.
It seems like we’ve been hearing rumors forever about Apple releasing its own “iWatch” that acts as a key accessory to the iPhone. But apparently, longtime Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn got tired of waiting around and decided to take matters into its own hands with its very own iOS-compatible smartwatch. CNET reports that Foxconn executives this week showed off a new watch “that can wirelessly connect to an iPhone to display incoming phone calls and Facebook posts.” The launch of the Foxconn watch comes at a time when the company has started trying to lessen its dependence on Apple by building its own consumer electronics products to boost its overall margins. No release date or pricing has been announced for the new Foxconn smartwatch at this point.
Mozilla’s Firefox OS looks like it’s about to a get a big boost in its quest to make a mark in the hugely competitive mobile industry. AllThingsD reports that manufacturing titan Foxconn “hopes to recruit up to 3,000 software engineers with chops in HTML 5 and cloud computing application programming in the months ahead” as it prepares to release more devices based on the free-to-use Firefox OS. Foxconn’s push to make its own smartphones and tablets comes as the company is trying to lessen its dependence on Apple and broaden its revenue sources. Foxconn unveiled its first Firefox-based tablet earlier this month and the company plans to produce at least four more Firefox devices by the end of the year.
Reports emerged on Monday suggesting consumer electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn intended to build and launch its own devices as Apple’s growth begins to slow. Now, Reuters follows the report with details on what may be Foxconn parent company Hon Hai’s first new mobile device to launch as part of this effort. Reuters was only able to confirm with its unnamed sources that Hon Hai and Mozilla plan to team up to unveil a device running Firefox OS on June 3rd, but a separate report from Focus Taiwan suggests the device in question will in fact be the first tablet powered by Mozilla’s mobile operating system. No other details about the device are known at this time.
While it’s too soon to tell whether Foxconn will try to become the next Samsung, the company is certainly looking to diversify its product portfolio in order to lessen its dependence on Apple. Unnamed sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Foxconn “is moving aggressively to add new clients and is looking at ways to diversify beyond contract manufacturing,” including “reviewing plans to sell its own brand of electronics accessories to improve profit margins.” It’s unclear from the Journal’s report whether these Foxconn-branded devices would compete directly with Apple’s devices, although an earlier report indicated that Foxconn was mostly interested in producing its own television sets rather than smartphones or tablets.
See if this scenario sounds familiar: A longtime Apple manufacturing partner looks to move away from its dependence on the company and focus more on creating its own products that it can sell at higher margins. While this has certainly been the story of Samsung’s success over the past couple of years, a new report from The New York Times suggests that iPhone manufacturer Foxconn may be drawing up a similar path for itself by designing and manufacturing its own brand of televisions while also inching itself away from depending on Apple as its major source of income. More →
Apple has made plenty of headlines over its reported supply chain woes this year and now The Register has translated a new report from China Business claiming that Apple recently returned at least 5 million iPhones to Foxconn this year due to some kind of unnamed defect. The Register notes that “with a cost to manufacture of $US200 apiece, Foxconn is apparently preparing to take a hit of up to $1.6bn to cover the cost of making replacement handsets,” which would certainly be a major blow to the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer. The report of the returned iPhones comes after Foxconn earlier this month posted a 19% drop in year-over-year revenue that was attributable in large part to “disappointing” recent iPhone sales.